Just minutes after Scott Walker’s short announcement that he was suspending his campaign to win the Republican Party nomination for the presidential candidacy, his supporters were hinting he might be back next year.
Some were already floating the idea he could return to win a brokered convention. Do they know something that the rest of us don’t?
Might they understand, as the North Dakota Republican National Committeeman Curly Haugland has been writing and talking about (he is a member of the Republican National Committee Rules Committee), that what really matters for getting the Republican Party nomination for the presidency in 2016 is not primary and caucus election wins but . . . wait for it . . . convention delegates?
Curly Haugland has been telling anyone who will listen that the current Rules of the Republican Party state that when the gavel sounds at the nominating convention, the results of the primary and caucus elections really don’t matter and what really matters is who the delegates support and how they may vote under the new convention Rules – which have yet to be written.
Fact: The Republican National Committee can do nothing at the convention without the authorization of the convention delegates – because the convention delegates “are” the Party at the convention. Ergo, if a conservative wants to have a real impact on who gets the Republican Party nomination, the absolute best place to be is at your state nominating convention and then at the national convention as a delegate. Yes, it takes some time, and costs some money, but it is the most important thing an individual conservative can do to have a vote as to who becomes the Republican nominee. If you can’t afford the time or expense, maybe you could pool your resources with a few other conservatives and send one of your group.
Curly Haugland was interviewed about the process just before the most recent Republican candidate “debate” and I highly recommend you read what he had to say and download a copy of the current Rules of the Republican Party and compare what he says in the article to what the Rules say. The interviewer asked him if the Republican Party bosses could rig the arcane rules governing awarding delegates and convention votes to keep the nomination from Trump. His answer? “I think they will eventually.”
On September 21, a caller on the Michael Medved show complained about how we conservatives were lied to by “the Republicans” who said, in 2012, “If you only give us the House” and then said, “If you only give us the Senate,” and here we are and we can’t even defund Planned Parenthood. So, he said, “we’re” real close to abandoning the ballot box and going to our guns.
Medved’s response was calm and rational: No, we can’t abandon the ballot box.
Indeed, the problem is we conservatives just aren’t using the ballot box very well and we sure as hell are not using the political party apparatus that sits before us essentially unused by conservatives and, as a result, is run by moderate Republicans.
And why should we use it? Because it’s where the real political power resides and it’s where you go to become DELEGATES.
So look what just happened to Scott Walker. Even fellow Wisconsinite, Republican National Committee (“RNC”) Chairman Reince Priebus, was unable to get his buddy higher in the polls at this point than less than one per cent. And now Walker is gone. Would Walker of Rick Perry have done better if conservative “activists,” whom Rush Limbaugh has been criticizing for doing nothing more than just talk about issues and now are complaining about Trump, would actually “do something” politically other than just talk about politics and issues? (Keep in mind, Rush doesn’t participate in the Republican Party at the precinct level or on a local committee, and has not been a delegate, and he’s been pretty clear about the fact that he is not “in” the Republican Party – he’s just a commentator.)
Now imagine, instead, that rather than our Party having only about 25 percent of the whole number of voting precinct Party slots filled by conservatives, and another approximately 25 percent filled by moderates (there’s about 400,000 of these slots, but only about 200,000 are filled), we instead had all of the vacant slots filled by conservatives.
Giving the conservative primary candidates a 75 percent majority party in terms of the Party apparatus. And then those conservatives, for example, if they liked, could start passing resolutions at the local district level, the county level, and the state level about being very concerned about Donald Trump’s candidacy. (I am not advocating for any single candidate here – I am merely laying out what could be done by conservatives if they united and organized politically inside . . . wait for it . . . a political party apparatus and enjoy all the political power that would entail.)
If memory serves, there’s about 3,141 counties (or county equivalents) in the country. Imagine 3,141 county committee resolutions expressing concern about the authenticity of Trump’s candidacy in terms of whether he actually supports the Republican Party Platform. And each sending out a press release to the Malignant Media. This would have created a Malignant Media firestorm because they love it when there’s an internal Republican Party fight. Except, in this case, it would have been a true “conservative base” (the one the “activist” keyboard warriors always refer to, as if they are not part of it — and they aren’t) within the Party apparatus, at the grass roots, precinct, level, “protecting its conservative turf” within our Party.
These committees meet monthly. Ever been to one of their meetings?
What follows pretty much sums up the state of affairs of our Party apparatus and why conservatives are so weak and ignored by the moderate Republican establishment, at least from what I know. For decades the moderate Republicans have enjoyed a majority on the RNC and have enjoyed no serious conservative insurgency within the Party because not enough conservatives are “in” the Party where and how it really matters.
So where and how do conservatives need to focus to really matter? To gain real political power
All the RNC slots are filled. They get elected per the Rules of the Republican Party. In Arizona, where I live, the precinct committeemen (“PCs”) elect state committeemen who elect the AZ GOP Chairman to a two year term. Every four years, in the presidential election years, the PCs elect delegates to the state convention and those delegates elect the national committeeman and national committeewoman to their respective four year terms. Any registered Republican can run for a state convention delegate position, but only PCs may cast votes to determine which delegate candidates actually become delegates.
Because only about one half of our PC slots are filled, and because there’s about a 50-50 split among the PCs, about half being conservative and about half being “faux conservatives” and moderates, we usually end up with middle-of-the-road state chairmen every two years and the same faux conservative (in the opinion of some) national committeeman and national committeewoman every four years.
All of the state committeeman positions are filled. All of the Arizona state Republican committee officer positions are filled.
All of the county committee officer positions of our 15 Arizona Republican county committees are filled.
All of the legislative district committee officer positions of our 30 Arizona Republican legislative district committees are filled.
But, by contrast, the voting member slots that determine who gets into all of the positions mentioned above are only half filled. The golden opportunity of conservatives to come together and change all of the above is being squandered.
The only reason conservatives are not running the Republican Party committees at the local district, county, state and national committee levels is because not enough conservatives are “in” these local Republican Party precinct-level, voting member slots. It is NOT hard to become one.
Ironically, earlier this year Scott Walker cut a video, for the Greenville County (South Carolina) Republican Committee, extolling the virtue of conservatives getting involved at the precinct level “inside” our Party.
That was a great idea. Imagine if he had made this part of his stump speech to every audience containing conservative Republicans. Imagine if he had, during the debates, in his summation, looked into the camera and said, “Conservatives, if you want me to get the nomination, please do whatever it takes in your state to become a delegate to your state’s Republican Party presidential nominating convention, because what I really need is as many of my supporters as possible to be delegates at those state nominating conventions. Contact my campaign – we can explain to you how easy it is to become a delegate.”
Imagine if Ted Cruz did this. Imagine if Rick Perry had done this.
Wish I knew why they don’t. (Hint: It has to do with their consultants – this message cuts into their profits.)
Until the conservative Republican Party candidates start talking about it, I’ll continue to.
Sure hope they’ll give me a break.
Daniel J. Schultz graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1978 and served as an Army Human Intelligence Officer. He now practices law. He has been a Republican Party precinct committeeman since 2007 and was a co-winner of the Conservative HQ Liberty Prize. State-specific and other information relating to The Neighborhood Precinct Committeeman Strategy can be found at http://precinctproject.us and http://theprecinctproject.wordpress.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.